If you have started implementing the Lean management system or are considering doing so, you might want to think about employing a firm that specializes in Lean consulting to augment your own training, implementation, and continuous improvement efforts. Although some organizations are successful going it alone, the advantages of using a Lean consultant can be profound, especially if there is no one in the company who has successfully implemented a Lean or Six Sigma methodology in the past. Here are just a few of the reasons that Lean consulting might increase your chances of success.
1 – Agreement Doesn’t Always Mean Enthusiasm
The fact that your executive team has agreed to implement a Lean approach, does not mean that they have completely bought in to this approach to change, or change at all, for that matter. Your transition to the Lean way of doing things will be far more successful if everyone has some passion for the idea. Lean consultants are experts at uncovering and alleviating any underlying reluctance. Their excitement about Lean can be contagious.
2 – Lean May Offer More than You Realize
Many people think of Lean primarily as a method of eliminating waste, but it is much more than that. Your lean consultant can help make sure that your organization is applying the principles of Lean to create value for the customer, while eliminating waste and improving quality.
3 – Fast Results Encourage Further Improvement
If you’ve ever been on a diet, you know that dropping a few pounds quickly can be a huge encouragement. By using Lean consulting you increase the likelihood of quickly identifying and executing quickly on a few key opportunities for improvement and quickly seeing positive results. This has the effect of strengthening the organizations’ commitment to the process.
4 – You Want Lasting Improvement
Lean is not a short-term fix. Rather, it is a different way of thinking about almost every aspect of business. Halfhearted implementation attempts simply don’t stick and quickly lead to discouragement. Your Lean consultant can see farther down the path based on past experiences and help you put in place the practices that will make your team more likely to succeed. It also signals your long term commitment to the method.
5 – Learn Best Practices
People who make a living helping others implement Lean have the experience to recognize and share best practices. Choosing a Lean consultant with experience in your industry and with businesses of your size and stage will help make sure that their practical experience is useful to your team.
6 – See through Fresh Eyes
Lean consulting is an excellent way to get a fresh perspective on your business. Having someone who isn’t as close to the challenges, habits and history of your business work with you can be an excellent way to break through mental road blocks and explore brand new ideas. Let’s face it, sometimes we all become blind to familiar problems that are glaringly obvious to outsiders.
While Lean consulting will not guarantee success, it certainly improves the odds. If you are implementing a software solution to support your continuous improvement efforts, it is also a good idea to avail yourself of professional services for that implementation as well.